I thought it might be interesting and fun to have a "predictions thread", where we set out our predictions for events to unfold concerning the Watch Tower Society (or Jehovah's Witnesses in general) over the coming years/decades.
It strikes me that so much has happened in the last ten years, most of which has defied expectations. Here's just a few of the developments that I can think of:
- The abolishment of group book studies in favor of a "family worship evening"
- The creation of a "Study Edition" Watchtower
- The halving of monthly magazine printing commitments
- The unprecedented closure/merging of branches (16% reduction in branches last year)
- The Menlo Park scandal, a body of elders removed for resisting a refurb of their kingdom hall
- The lawsuits in Victoria, Australia - the Society taken to court concerning child protection laws
- Courtroom admissions about the Faithful & Discreet Slave and similarities with the Catholic Church
- Increased hate speech against "mentally diseased" apostates
- Astonishing lapses of judgment, such as the "Selma and Steve" study article
- The ditching of Gilead as a school for missionaries
- Ambitious construction plans for a new world HQ (with or without Jehovah's blessing!)
- The fire sale of Brooklyn real estate (often at well below the asking price)
- Plans to embrace the internet with an improved single website rather than 3
- New songbook, elders' manual and theocratic ministry school guidebook
- The exposure of the Society's toxic waste scandal
I'm sure I've missed loads of similarly significant developments. Feel free to add to the above list if you can think of others!
Anyway, what's the harm in making a few predictions? They don't all have to agree with one another, and they certainly don't all have to come true. The Society has taught us that much! The beauty of this is that when things ACTUALLY happen we can say "Oh yes, that was prediction #29 by such-and-such if I remember correctly!"
Here's 10 throwaway predictions to set the ball rolling:
#1 Once all Brooklyn properties have been sold, the total combined sales revenue will be at least 15 million dollars below the asking price.
#2 There will be a further reduction in branches in the next worldwide report (for 2012).
#3 There will be a further reduction in baptisms in the next worldwide report (for 2012).
#4 By 2016, the Society will start openly asking for more money due to a shortfall in donations.
#5 By 2018, Awake! will cease publication in favour of a 16-page public Watchtower magazine.
#6 By 2020, the Society will enter negative growth.
#7 By 2022, the Society will stop publishing a full worldwide report in the yearbook.
#8 By 2030, the Society will no longer be printing magazines. All Watchtowers will be available as PDF downloads only.
#9 By 2045, there will be less than 5 million publishers.
#10 At some point, the Governing Body will insist that if someone remains inactive for more than a year, they are to be shunned as though disfellowshipped.
Sorry if a few of those predictions were grim, i.e. the one about shunning inactive ones. I would be quite happy if that particular prediction never came true! It will be interesting to see how many of the above predictions do come to pass, if any.
Now over to you - what are your predictions? Like I said, feel free to contradict any of those above. However, try to stick to the numbering sequence, i.e. #11... #12.... #13... etc. Of course, you don't HAVE to make predictions when you post. Comments and observations about the predictions made by others are just as valuable.
(As always, if you haven't already taken part in the 2012 JW Survey, please do so!)